Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga is Netflix India’s most broadly appealing Original movie to date. The high-concept heist film set aboard a passenger jet feels like a ’90s throwback, in a good way. It’s an entertaining thriller — so long as you don’t think about it too critically.
Yami Gautam stars as Neha, a flight attendant for a Middle Eastern airline who is swept off her feet by a charming passenger, Ankit (Sunny Kaushal). Their whirlwind romance hits turbulence when creditors come after Ankit to replace some stolen diamonds. His financial troubles become more urgent when Neha learns that she is pregnant.
Ankit’s plan is to steal some diamonds while they are transported from a fictional Middle Eastern country to India aboard a passenger flight, but he needs Neha’s help to pull of the heist. Neha’s own father was a thief, and while she vowed to keep her baby away from a life of crime, Ankit’s plan seems like the only way forward.
The plane that Neha, Ankit, and the diamonds are on is hijacked by extremists who demand that a dissident jailed in India be set free. This is a good setup for a story.
Some novelists who write without outlines talk about creating characters, putting them into situations, and letting the nature of the characters dictate how they get out of trouble. It doesn’t feel like that’s how Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga was written. The outcome was decided first, then the characters actions were reverse-engineered to achieve that outcome, with mixed results here.
If the only goal is to surprise the audience, that might be a reasonable way to construct a screenplay — but it requires detailed attention to continuity and character motivation. When the film is over, the audience should not ask, “Would the characters really have acted that way?” Unfortunately, that question lingers at the end of Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga.
That said, it is possible to watch Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga without getting hung up on details. Yami Gautam is quite good as a woman in a difficult position with high stakes for her and the people she loves. Sharad Kelkar is also solid as the intelligence officer brought in to investigate the hijacking. The first two-thirds of the film moves along at a good clip.
Things bog down during the investigation, as the truth is explained via flashbacks. The dialogue writing also gets annoying, especially when the passengers deplane and intelligence officers call out the names of the people they’d like to interrogate. Instead of just calling out a couple of times, they do so repeatedly. They yell, “Who is the flight marshal?” seven times, “Who is Bhanu Yadav?” nine times, and “Neha Grover?” a full eleven times.
Chor Nikal Ke Bhaga isn’t perfect, but it’s suitable Saturday night popcorn fare — and you don’t have to leave your house to watch it.